Customer Review

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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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 18, 2011 6:59:44 AM PDT
Mocha's Mom says:
I ALWAYS need to know if it has CC or Subtitles!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2011 8:47:33 PM PDT
snafu59 says:
I also require CC or subtitles. But A&E has a poor reputation with deaf people... There has been many releases of old shows I like by A&E, and they are generally not subtitled or CC.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2011 4:48:11 PM PDT
Can anyone tell me how the picture quality is on these disks? Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2011 9:43:47 PM PDT
Richardson says:
I'm with you....reviews before things are released and of the old show instead of the DVD sets are not super helpful ...I like owners to tell me what the picture quality is and all the other stuff that would make investing in the set a yes or no!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 10:24:22 AM PST
Sam D says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 12:19:20 PM PST
I have viewed enough of the episodes to say that the sound and picture are excellent. I'm very pleased.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2011 3:18:21 PM PST
M. Morey says:
I was a young child (more or less) when the show first aired. There was no foul language on any show in the fifties, and the violence was tame, particular in view of the character's literary reputation.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 4:47:50 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 12, 2012 5:00:08 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 4:51:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012 4:59:54 PM PDT
Pepper says:
Any intelligent person would know that TV in the 50's never had anything violent or sexy.
I bought this at Costco for $25.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 10:04:19 PM PDT
The picture and audio are excellent overall. I think you will find them satisfactory.
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