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The Untouchables: Season 2, Vol. 1

66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Untouchables chronicles the campaign of Eliot Ness (Robert Stack), the young U.S. Prohibition Bureau agent, to smash the beer and booze empire of Al Capone in 1920s Chicago.

In Billy Wilder’s classic, The Apartment, a sleazy corporate exec tries to schedule an after-hours tryst with one of the company’s switchboard operators. "Thursday?" she protests. "But that’s The Untouchables with Bob Stack." "So we’ll watch it at the apartment," the exec placates her. "Big deal." As Wilder’s shout-out indicates, The Untouchables was a big deal. Hot off Robert Stack’s Emmy-winning performance as Treasury Agent Elliot Ness, The Untouchables blasted its way into the Nielsen Top Ten in its second season, which begins in a blaze of glory with the episode, "The Rusty Heller Story," featuring Elizabeth Montgomery in her Emmy-nominated role as the "no good" showgirl who plays two mobsters and a corrupt lawyer against each other (Bewitched fans will note that the lawyer with whom she gets very chummy is portrayed by David White, the future Larry Tate!). More than four decades later, with its film noir sensibility, smart-writing, hard-boiled dialogue, and plenty of what Rusty Heller calls, "boom-boom action," The Untouchables is still as potent (but not as deadly) as a bottle of ginger jake. The 16 episodes contained on this four-disc set tell some great (albeit suspect) stories of the kingpins, criminals, and hoodlums who thought they had "the guts" to move in on Al Capone’s tottering empire. Among the most arresting are "The Big Train," a gripping two-parter featuring Neville Brand reprising his role as Capone, who plots his escape while en route to Alcatraz, "Jamaica Ginger," featuring James Coburn and Brian Keith as a couple of "torpedoes" hired by a gangster to kill his rival, a plan complicated when one falls in love with a schoolteacher, and "The Purple Gang," about Detroit’s feared gang that kidnaps an underling (Werner "Colonel Klink" Klemperer) with Capone ties. Joining Ness’s incorruptible squad this season is Paul Picerni as Agent Lee Hobson, but it’s Stack’s show all the way. He gets to slap wiseguys around ("Answer the question, punk") and deliver the best lines. When one goon tells him he has no respect for the dead, Ness replies, "Sometimes, even less for the living." His relentless war against the underworld sometimes comes at a terrible price. When one innocent woman is gunned down, the killers taunt, "Satisfied, Mr. Ness?" But, of course, that just steels his resolve. As for this set, we’re satisfied, even without any bonus features, and the now common (and criminal) practice of season splitting. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • 16 episodes from the 1960-61 season on four discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Stack, Bruce Gordon, Neville Brand, Paul Picerni, Robert F. Simon
  • Directors: Don Medford, Herman Hoffman, John Peyser, Paul Wendkos, Stuart Rosenberg
  • Writers: Adrian Spies, Charles O'Neal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 806 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00114XTHK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,433 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Untouchables: Season 2, Vol. 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Gwynne C. Gilbert on March 21, 2008
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Once they hooked the customer and reviewers by the quality of the 1st season set of The Untouchables, they then release pure butchered trash on the Season 2 Vol 1 set. Is this a practice we can expect more and more from CBS-Paramount DVD's?

The trademark of the show was the way each act would end with the background music crescendoing and segue into the signature tune of the closing bumper. Unlike the Season 1 DVD set you will not find that here. They hacked off the first three act's closing bumpers. By lopping off the bumpers they had to fade out the scenes and background music before they actually ended, making for a sloppy edit that makes the end of each act seem very awkward and loosing the original emotional effect that was originally conceived. This was a complete hack job.

Who knows, these could be the butchered up versions made for the VHS market about twenty years ago, not the direct transfers to DVD from original 35mm film that were on the 1st season set.

And don't let anyone tell you there were no bumpers in Season 2. All four seasons of the Untouchables had them (opening and closing for each act).

The 1st season DVD set was as excellent as anyone could wish for. I cannot comprehend how they could release Season 2 Vol 1 in such a debased way. Too bad I can't return it to Amazon because of defective content. It is apparent that CBS-Paramount do not respect their customers.

There will be no Untouchables Season 2 Vol 2 on my wish list and I would suggest to all true fans of The Untouchables to avoid Season 2 Vol 1.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on March 21, 2008
The 118 hour-long episodes (appropriately in B&W) of the crime drama "The Untouchables" were originally broadcast on ABC from 1959-1963. The first 16 episodes of Season Two are listed below with their original air dates.

The series was promoted as a docudrama-type presentation based on the real-life cases of government agent Eliot Ness (Robert Stack) during the 1930's. Despite this claim the promoters took considerable liberties with the actual history of Ness's squad of "Untouchables" (incorruptible) as well considerable dramatic license as every G-man vs the mob cliché and caricature was incorporated into stories.

The style is less like a docudrama than the screaming headlines of a scandal focused Hearst newspaper from the era; complete with a Walter Winchell's newsreel-like narration. But this added zip to the series and made it a big hit. The many stereotypes simply made the story telling more efficient and did not interfere with the viewer getting into the story.

The episodes are of two basic types; macro (big-name crime bosses) and micro (innocents and low-level hoods caught up in forces over which they have little control). Although the macro type episodes are the ones most subject to historical liberties, both types work reasonably well and the ability of the series to shift between them gave the writers a lot more potential material to work with and in part accounted for the series not running out of gas after just a season or two.

Stack and the actors playing his main agents generally remain intact from the first season. These include Nick Georgiade as Rossi, Paul Picerni as Hobson, Steve London as Rossman, Abel Fernandez as Youngfellow, and Jerry Paris as Flaherty.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Rapchak on June 3, 2008
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Yes, the Untouchables Season II continues the same hard-hitting,
brilliantly filmed drama which equals the quality of the First Season; in fact, the "Purple Gang" episode, with it's dark, brooding atmosphere and the unhinged brutality of Steve Cochran's character, is about as intense as you'd be likely to see in the still-early days of TV.

I, too am disappointed in the editorial tampering with these episodes, including the lack of "bumpers" at the end of each act. WORSE though,for me, is the general visual quality of the shows, which is a DEFINITE step DOWN from the that of the first season---lots of graininess, etc. Apparently this set was taken from a set of tapes edited for TV syndication.

So what's up, CBS-Paramount? Why charge the same HIGH price per episode while delivering shoddier quality?

Another oddity of Season 2; for some reason (probably as a cost-saving
measure), there is a heavy use of what sounds like MUSIC-LIBRARY tracking
in the background scores of these episodes. There's lots of music that sounds like that goofy "symphonic-moderne" stuff from the 1950's, as if the music editor on the show was raiding the same library that Ed Wood did for "Plan 9". It's really disconcerting, having become used to the gritty, jazzed-up "noir" sound of the first season.

Still, it's darn good viewing, from TV's greatest era.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francis S. Duskiewicz on August 19, 2009
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Honestly, anyone who enjoys The Untouchables and who liked the DVD releases from the first year of the show, that passes up this superb collection of the series' best episodes simply because they changed the commercial break bumpers is foolish. Actually, the way they were handled in the first two sets was aggravating. How many times do I need to look at that foolish book anyway!?

Now on to fun stuff from Season Two:

1) Paul Picerni joins the crew as Lee Hobson, making Ness's line, "Rico, Lee" as famous as "Book 'em, Danno." However, Picerni was nowhere near as magnetic or interesting an actor as Anthony George, who was featured as Cam Allison during the first season. Evidently, George caught somebody's eye as he became one of the stars of Checkmate! the next year. If Picerni joined the cast as a reaction to Italian complaints, why give him such a whitebread name?

2) Steve London, as Rossman, must have examined the script each week and said, "Damn! No lines again!"

3) Character actors ruled!! The more European the better. And it becomes clear by this set that The Untouchables used a reperatory group of actors. Nehemiah Persoff had already starred as Jake Gusik, Johnny Fortunato and Waxey Gordon and Jack Warden was also featured three times, once as Ness's best friend. Makes me wonder why someone doesn't say, " look awfully familiar!" Joseph Wiseman, Luther Adler, Will Kuluva and Val Avery are all over the place, too.

4) Time is not linear in The Untouchables. Frank Nitti is alive, then dies, then is featured again. Lee Hobson was not around when Capone was convicted, then "oops' there he is in a flashback when Capone was sent to jail in "The Big Train Part One" episode.
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